26 February 2015

Marshmallow Morning

Although the waves were really soft, I had them all to myself for a while, until two guys came out. My best rides were a couple of rights; most waves lacked the energy to push me on my longest board. The dropping tide sucked the remaining life out of them until the three of us were forced to paddle in.
See the sea lion?
It was a chilly dawn patrol with frost on the cliff path. Flocks of pelicans flew like formations of landspeeders just above the surface of the sea. A small sea lion swam past, and another rested on the wide cobblestone beach, stretching her neck skyward to bask in the sun.

24 February 2015

Today I...

saw a guy get barreled
used a rip current to get to the lineup
got pulled up over the falls and pummeled
was surprised to see four other girls shortboarders
practiced duck-diving over and over on my 5'4" Spitfire
via the Surfline cam
watched sea gulls fly and thought about their sky trails
enjoyed the still warm water and the sun on my face
rode one long sweeet left with turns to the inside
was sucked out past the pier by a rip current
and felt totally in the moment and alive!

22 February 2015

San Diego GRO Skate Session #1

Deeba, Jordan, Melissa, Michele, me, V
A couple months ago, I contacted Girls Riders Organization to find out when they were going to hold a skate session in San Diego. Courtney told me none were planned and asked if I'd organize the first one. This morning was it. 
The nine other girls ranged in age from about 3 to over 50, and it was awesome to skate with them! V gave Melissa tips on dropping in, and she nailed it for the first time ever. Jordan, V, and Deeba skated with style and inspired the rest of us. A couple of newbie women in their thirties made slow circuits, gaining confidence and speed with each lap. And the teeny little girls are going to rip someday soon.
Wish I'd started that young
I confess I hadn't skated in more than a month, but it all came back to me, like riding a bike. Stoked on those concrete waves!

20 February 2015

Fishing for Small Waves

On a lark, I decided to take Nemo to Hennemans this morning instead of my go-to 6'2". I'd never ridden my short fish there before, but hey, why not try it?

The swell dropped a couple of feet since yesterday and the tide was rising fast to a 6' high. It was a challenge to get into the soft waves on the 5'4" and to drop in correctly when I managed it.
I'm glad I took Nemo, because the distinctive clownfish markings allowed @xzolian to spot me and say hi. Always nice to meet virtual people IRL.

Incrementally rising to the challenge, my wave-catching and riding got better as the session went on, culminating in a couple of nice lefts to finish. Those rides were all the sweeter for having to work so hard to earn them.

19 February 2015

Finding Nemo Again

I took my 5'4" fish out today for the first time in... I don't know how long, but it would be measured in months, not weeks. I've been riding 6'2" Rocket exclusively for quite a while.

Feeling lazy, I locked my bike at the top of the bluff above Pumphouse and walked up the beach to Tourmaline where the surf was a bit smaller and less closed-outy. I'd forgotten how much easier it is to get out on and manage a smaller board, although I timed it perfectly anyway to make it to the lineup with dry hair.

The first wave I caught was a right that tried to give me a wedgie. Not sure exactly what happened - probably didn't turn fast enough - but I got swept off my feet at the bottom and toppled backward into onrushing whitewater. Refreshing.

I redeemed myself on the next several lefts and scored long rides. Although there was a little crowd as always, many weren't catching much. Then a couple of wave hogs arrived and took every bump they could, even if it meant nearly running into me. I think I snuck in one more ride before they left, although by then the wind was up and the high tide had dropped fast to lower than the nearly flat-bottomed fish likes. A SUPer paddled by and said, "You found Nemo!" which made me smile.

10 February 2015

Surf Check

The swell is overhead everywhere now but Surfline reported this morning's conditions as poor and called it "solid but sloppy." I really wanted to surf though, so I biked along the beach to see the sea in person.
Crystal Pier
Law Street
Looking south to Crystal Pier from PB Point
PB Point 
Sewers and Birdrock
It looked disorganized all along my route, with a football-field length of whitewater to traverse to the outside. I saw a few guys getting rides and almost as many eating it dramatically, their boards flung high in the air above the churning ocean.

The exception - although not by much - was Pacific Beach Point. It had enough potential that after riding on to check Calumet Park in La Jolla, I stopped to consider it again. Still, I was unconvinced, and decided to watch for a few minutes more; if I saw a wave I could ride, then I'd go home and get my surfboard. That wave came almost as soon as I'd had the thought, offering up a nice shoulder to a shortboarder.

On the return trip, suited up and with Rocket alongside in my bike rack, I waited to cross Mission Boulevard to the beach. A guy on the sidewalk sized me up. "You're gonna charge it, huh?" Yep!

Back at the PB Point overlook, a dude commented on the sloppy swell. When I asked him if he was going out, he said, "Nah, I'm just going to stand here and talk shit about it." Ha. Then, since I told him it was my first time surfing the Point, he offered me tips on where to paddle out and back in. I could pretty much see the channel anyway, but it was good to learn the reference rocks.

The channel didn't extend all the way to the lineup, and two-thirds of the way out I turned to catch a right that was just breaking. The fun ride to the inside unfortunately landed me in that football field of whitewater. Current plus ineffectual duck-dives of my floaty 6'2"added up to little forward progress and tiring arms - I still haven't gotten my strength back after being sick for weeks - so I made my way back to the channel and paddled hard until I made it all the way outside. Well, to the shortboard section anyway; there were longboarders and a SUPer even farther out. From there I caught an overhead left, rampy and fast, that put a grin on my face. Yay for big waves!

08 February 2015


Recently I started climbing again with my sometime surf buddy, Christina. So this morning, instead of surfing, I was top-roping a route called Stairs in Mission Trails Park.
Those tiny white dots in the distance are climbers
Christina told me that although she hasn't surfed in a month, she doesn't miss it since she started climbing, and she reeled off a list of reasons she likes climbing better than surfing. I nodded and said, "Ah, I see," but really I don't. For me, there is no substitute for surfing. Nothing even comes close.
Not my favorite flavor of water
Being in the ocean makes me feel happy and alive, even when it's kicking my ass. Rock climbing, which I started to assuage my fear of heights, just makes me wonder what the heck I'm doing clinging to a cliff face a long way above the ground.

On the way home, I detoured slightly to check the surf. Alas, it was barely this side of being blown out.
There's a large swell filling in, and the southern La Jolla reefs looked a bit wild. Still, I would rather have been out there this morning instead.

07 February 2015

Take Me to Church

Every now and then a song will get stuck in my head while I'm surfing. Often it's the last one that played in the car on the way to the beach, but sometimes it's sparked by the moment. Before lunch today I surfed at Church, with the chorus of Hozier's hit on a loop.

Caution: The video below is disturbing. For a more pleasant one with great dancing, watch this.
The San Diego Surfrider leadership retreat was held at a cottage on the base of Camp Pendleton, with the mushy right Trestles break practically in the backyard. Having an ex-military Chair has its benefits.

After driving around a bit trying to find my way onto the base, I located the entrance, reached by cutting in front of the waiting lot at San Onofre State beach.
Church, viewed from the cottage 
Military perks - our tax dollars at work
Since I had some time before my committee was due to report, after I parked in view of the ocean, I changed into my wetsuit and walked a few minutes up the beach to Church. A pair of dolphins passed by as I paddled out to join the crowd. It was a challenge to find a wave that wasn't too soft on the high tide, or already occupied by a darn longboarder. After riding a few short and meh inside rights, I decided to paddle north and try for less popular lefts. They were short - sectioned pretty quickly - and steep, but I picked off a couple. The downside was that there was no channel for the return, so it was good exercise busting through the whitewater to get back out.

The other Rise Above Plastics Committee co-chair, Jason, joined me for a bit on his newly-repaired longboard, and I saw Executive Committee member Randy in the water as well.
My best wave was a shoulder-high right that I caught just broken, behind a longboarder. I made it out of the whitewater and onto the face, and he kicked out, letting me run almost all the way to the inside before the wave sectioned. Woot!

04 February 2015

The Thrill

The tide was pretty high this morning, making the waves soft on the paddle in, but they'd jack up just after takeoff.
Ian waved as he stroked past Hennemans on his way to more-crowded Hairmos. For a happy while it was just me and four other guys, and I charged the main peak.
W-w-wipeout! I had one of those too, ass-over-teakettle.
Among lesser waves, I caught two that were a bit overhead and successfully made the fast and high turn to stay on through the steep bit - what a thrill! And I rode one of those waves all the way in, feeling the power in the pocket. Woo hoo!

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